So following on from last week’s Blue Bag board this weeks is much more bold and graphic inspired by this great red and white zig zag bag.
It prompted me to look back at a couple of my old sketch books where I had some menswear tear sheets.. the black and white pic was made to sit next to the paper bag.
I also hunted out some great colourful ballpoint pens I bought a few months ago, I knew they would come in useful for a few mood board scribbles, I think I may attempt a couple of illustrations with them this week… keep watching!
We love the red and white fairisle in the bottom left hand corner too, a simple but really effective pattern.
We are having contemplations about other regular blog spots, if you have any ideas, let us know.. our thoughts so far are “a what’s on our desk spot”, an illustration Wednesday and a truebritknit trend spot! Keep reading.
News for the ‘menswear’ Category
Monday Mood – paper bag series 2
So following on from last week’s Blue Bag board this weeks is much more bold and graphic inspired by this great red and white zig zag bag.
As some of you may know, the lovely Jen Arnall-Culliford has been a pal for a few years now, and we’ve met her husband, the just-as-lovely (and somewhat long-suffering, if you believe his alter-ego, @VeufTricot on Twitter) Jim Arnall-Culliford a few times too. So when we heard about Jim running the London Marathon for Refuge, we offered to put them up for the weekend and help in any way we could. Both Wendy and I are only just over the river from the start (well, in global terms) and both TBk households are seasoned Marathon spectators (this year was Wendy’s 15th consecutive marathon, I have chickened out on the years when the weather was bad…).
So, Jen and Jim arrived Friday evening. Saturday morning we set off to Excel for Jim to go through the final registration bits and pick up his number and microchip. Here is Jim in the queue for his number:
and here he is with his number:
no longer Jim, but Runner 45699! Have to say, the organisation at Excel was fantastic. Super speedy, teeny tiny queues. We did a bit of wandering around the associated exhibition, and then thought we’d pop over to Greenwich so that Jim could see where he’d be starting from. We thought we’d go the scenic route, so we popped onto this:
and ‘flew’ over the Thames. Here’s Neil (Mr. TBk) and Jen in the capsule:
and here’s the view just before we set off whilst waiting for our capsule:
looking back to the Olympic Stadium and The Orbit:
and back to the ‘flight’ once we’d landed:
We wandered along the Thames Path towards Greenwich, crossing from East to West along the way:
And when we got to the top of Greenwich Park, just outside the Observatory, we saw this little sweetie:
It was the coat that made me excited to start with (so cute!) but then we noticed the claws… Never seen a dog with painted claws before. Considered painting Iman’s, briefly, but decided that having functioning fingers was more important in the general scheme of things.
Anyway, wandered over to the Start, showed Jim where he’d be then set off home. Saw this sign at the bottom of the hill, which amused me.
Got home, Neil made fresh pasta for dinner to go with the ragu I’d made the day before (requested specially by Jim) – Jim ate rather a lot of it:
(ok, perhaps not quite all of that dish full), and then it was time for bed. I’ll tell you all about the actual Marathon day tomorrow, this post has been long enough I think. Just in case you’re wondering, that hoodie Jim is wearing is going to be a pattern available from Jen fairly soon… I think she should call it ‘In da E9 Hood’…
Newberet and Sca Fell Peak…
Ok, so one reason for getting so wet on the photoshoot at the weekend was to photograph our final (for the moment) beret pun, and also to get some pics of the Sca Fell Peak on a chap. Just to prove that a. it fits a chap and b.that it doesn’t look ridiculous on said chap.
So, we gathered our models, bags full of samples and assistants and set off. We were originally going to do this Saturday but had put it off because the weather was so bad so we absolutely had to do it Sunday regardless of the weather. Which was just about as bad as Saturday, so we still got wet and cold.
Our location managers (Wendy and her husband) had decided that Tredegar Square in Bow would be a suitable location. It was. Even better, after we’d got wet taking the pics there’s a fabulous pub, The Lord Tredegar (they don’t seem to have a website), in an adjacent road where we shuffled off to for a drink and a few indoor pics (the staff there were lovely and didn’t mind us faffing about in the least).
As I said, we were there primarily to photograph the latest (and for the moment, last) beret offering, the Newberet, a couple of jumpers that will be ready very soon and, as we have a chap available, a few pics of said chap in the largest Sca Fell Peak, just to prove that it looked good on a man. Here’s a closer look at the lovely Bryn in said hat:
Isn’t he fab? And he’s a very good cook, too. Anyway, onto the Newberet:
The Newberet is a chunky knit with twisted ribbing, moss stitch and stocking stitch. Wendy has finally stepped away from the pom-pom maker for a short while and resisted a pom-pom here, we just finished it off with a classic beret ‘stalk’ – basically a few rows of i-cord. It’s quite quick and perhaps easier than the Beret St. Edmunds as the moss stitch is gentler on the hands than the blackberry stitch with the chunky yarn. Still, we think that it’s really rather smart, proving that ease of knitting is in no way proportional to final stylishness of garment. We used Mondial Kross Chunky from Yeoman Yarns, but any fairly chunky yarn would work, Quince & Co’s Puffin might be a good substitute.
More details and pattern here (Ravelry link), TBk pattern page up later today. It’s going to snow again, knit yourself a beret, quick!
Yes, yes, I know, possibly the worst pun we’ve come up with so far! I’m sure we can do worse though, give us chance.
So, for those of you that weren’t punks in 1979 (or indeed like me, came late to punk) London Cowling owes much as a name to The Clash, although we’re not sure if the surviving members would wear one. Should anybody reading this know any of The Clash then please ask them if they’d wear a toasty cowl and if they would we’d be more than happy to pop over (if they’re still London-based, or close, LA might be beyond us) to take them a cowl each and take photos of them, dribble, witter inanely and be ridiculously shy in their prescence. But I digress. Here it is:
Even though we’ve only photographed it on the lovely Cara, it has been worn and fondled by real, blokish blokes who cycle who claim it is ‘perfect’ for cycling in. Sadly said cyclists have not been around during decent daylight hours to photograph them as proof, but give us chance.
London Cowling is knitted in John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers. It is amazing stuff that we cannot recommend enough and that we’ve used for The Titfer, the Simmonds Scarf, and two other designs still to come, a colour-blocked cardi for a chap in very manly colours and a sparkly cable sweater for women. It comes in 79 colours, so there should be a colour for everyone to wear their London Cowling in, plus this design only takes a single hank so at a RRP of £8.95 that’s a very reasonable price for a present. It should be knittable before Christmas as it’s on 6mm needles, but if you’re really pushed for time you could just buy the yarn and the pattern, print the pattern out and wrap them up with an IOU for the knitting (I may have done this before, hence my knowledge).
Just in case you are a. very young, b. have lived under a stone for a couple of decades or c. are not British and so might not know about The Clash, here is London Calling in all its greatness (and it is a truly great song).
Don’t they look smart?* They could have done with something warming around their necks whilst filming in all that rain on the river. More details and pattern links for London Cowling here.
*Yes, we know the popular image of Punk was ripped scruffy stuff and bin liner dresses etc. etc. blah blah but being well dressed never did anyone any harm. Quite a few Punks were very natty dressers indeed…
Today and tomorrow we have two patterns that could well be last-minute Christmas present knitting. Today, we have the Ribblehead Scarf:
We’re not pretending that Ribblehead is anything other than a simple ribbed scarf, but sometimes it’s nice to have even simple written out for you, especially if time is tight or if you’re a fairly new knitter. We’ve worked out the tension, how much yarn you need, how big it will end up, plus we’ve worked out some perfectly proportioned stripes. Stripes! I hear you cry. ANYONE can make stripes. Well, yes, anyone can. But it can be very hard to make really beautiful, perfectly proportioned stripes. Design houses that have lots of stripes in collections will have someone whose main task is to sit with graph paper and pantone pens and draw out colour and stripe combinations. For quite a lot of quite a lot of their days. I kid you not.
Yet again, we’ve used Artesano Aran for this scarf. It’s gorgeous. Truly. We have gone on about this before. We bought quite a lot of it from varying yarn shops around London (different shops have different colours) before we decided we really wanted to use it and actually got around to contacting the lovely people at Artesano. At which point, they sent us yarn! Free! Gratis! Isn’t that nice of them? We’ve already published Pendleton and Chapeau! in this very same yarn, and we have a beautiful cabled jumper for chaps to come (hopefully next week). So Ribblehead uses up some of the yarn they sent us and some of the yarn we’d bought.
Ribblehead is unisex, although we’ve only photographed it so far on our lovely model Cara, who would have frozen her little bottom off standing around the other day when it was not quite getting above freezing point in London but lo! Ribblehead came to the rescue and kept her toasty warm. It may well be the perfect scarf for that difficult-to-please young man in your life who needs a handknit – you can make it in football club colours. Or Rugby club colours. Or even Cricket club colours and it might be more acceptable than a cowl, which seems to be the ‘in’ neckwarmer around the interwebz these days. But then again, pop back tomorrow as we’ve also got a cowl to show you which is definitely unisex as chaps have been asking for the sample. Particularly good, we think, if you know a cyclist…
Meanwhile, you can get your mitts on the Ribblehead pattern here.
In the spirit in which we told you about the Hanky Hat earlier in the year, here we give you TBk’s ‘London’ hat, because as any Cockney (or, frankly, most Brits) know, a Titfer is a hat. Tit-for-tat = hat in Cockney rhyming slang. But you don’t say ‘tit-for-tat’, you say ‘tit-fer-tat’, and you only actually say ‘titfer’ (if you add the ‘tat’ then there’s no point trying to sound local) so here is The Titfer.
The Titfer has classic lines and classic cables, plus the all-important ridiculously-sized pompom that is so important this Winter in the East End. You can have a neat, Beanie-esq Titfer:
(the cream one, with the red, vaguely normal size of pompom) or a Titfer Slouch:
a longer version (the charcoal, donkey and school grey one with the ridiculously over-sized pompom), shown here on a chap, just for the sake of scale and unisex appeal:
or even a Titfer Super-Slouch (even longer if you like that sort of thing, which neither of us do but we are willing to accomodate such tastes. Actually it’s more to do with us both looking
too old and silly in very slouchy hats, so if you look young and cool in a super-slouch then go ahead).
Yarn. Our Titfers were knitted in John Arbon’s Knit by Numbers (not ‘Colour by Numbers’, as someone keeps calling it, which is a completely different kettle of 1980s pop-fish), and it is one of the nicest yarns we have ever worked with. We very rarely wet-block anything, preferring a quick steam blast (unless the yarn is oiled and really needs scouring), and when you swoosh steam through Knit By Numbers it plumps up and looks and feels amazing. Try it. Seriously. Not only is the yarn fab, John and Juliet who make it are doing their very best to keep British spinning and yarn production going, so they deserve as much support as possible.
Just in case anyone’s wondering, we photographed all of these in a real, proper, artists’ studio where two lovely friends of ours work, Jeanette Barnes and Paul Brandford. Paul was an amazing sport and not only gave up several hours of his Sunday for little more than a sausage sandwich, a few beers and the chance to laugh quite a bit but also took it in his stride when sweaters were thrown at him with ‘stick that on and go sit over there’. You’ll see his pictures soon, but ‘thank you very much, Paul and Jeanette!’. We must also mention and thank here our other beautiful models (in alphabetical order) Aarika, Eibhlin, Tom and Will, general assistant Blue and Neil for his driving, procuring of (and paying for) sausage sandwiches. We love you all and one day we might even knit something for you.
Dash over to here to grab your very own Titfer pattern and become an honourary Cockney.
Following on from The Titfer, we have have Chapeau! Now, we know that ‘chapeau’ is French for hat and that this may seem a little incongruous as we’re always wittering on about being British. And, let’s face it, the English and the French have a long history of being rude to each other. But. And this is the point here… this year, our Glorious 2012 Olympic Year (we enjoyed it, you know? Have we mentioned that?!), a Brit, nay – an Englishman – won The Tour de France. Coming soon there is a sweater named for him, in honour of that and his 2012 Olympic gold medal*, so we wanted another name for the hat that uses the same cable pattern.
We asked a pal who’s good with words. (So if this is all made up, it’s his fault.) And he suggested ‘Chapeau!’, as, and I quote from him here:
‘cycling jargon –
An expression of appreciation, admiration or respect. From the French, equivalent to “I take my hat off to you!”‘
So, in honour of the French taking their hats off to an Englishman, we give you Chapeau!
Chapeau! is knitted in Artesano Aran, a really lovely blend of 50/50 wool and alpaca. It is soft and smooshy and warm, and it’s also lovely to knit with. Plus, the delightful people at Artesano gave us (free, gratis, for nothing!) the yarn for this and the other garments we’ve knitted in it. Isn’t that lovely? Anyway, we’re not just saying it’s fabulous because they gave it to us, it really, really is.
As we’re on a pom-pom roll there’s a girly version with pompoms:
as well as a more masculine version without the pompoms which looks like more of a ski-hat if your chap (eau!) will not countenance pompoms:
It’s a quick knit, the cables are charted and there’s no sewing as it’s closed at the top with a 3-needle cast-off. The most sewing you have to do (apart from darning the ends) is to attach the top corners together. If you want dangly pompoms then a little crochet is required, but it’s really a very little bit of crochet and you could manage it without even a crochet hook if you’re a bit nifty with your knitting needles. You can see just how little crochet there is here:
So, snap your cycling clips on and swoosh over here to get the pattern.
* yes, we know Bradley has more than one Olympic gold medal. But we were really excited about this one, on home turf.
Monday Mood 6
Our Monday Mood for this week is another Mono Fair Isle. We have taken inspiration from more of the fantastic vintage cards we featured on the last board. My friend brought them for me from a market in Holland but we think they are German. We love these graphic fair isles which now look really modern and on trend! Funny how things come round again. My teenage daughter has just discovered my old Artwork sweaters – indigo dyed and very well worn and she is now wearing them and looking amazing! We will feature a lot more of the vintage cards in future posts.
The ceramic fawn head is a 1940s animal model designed by Nancy Great-Rex for Midwinter Pottery, which is one of our favourite sources of inspiration for pattern and colour. Jessie Tate, one of Midwinter’s designers is one of our all time design heroes whose work we will probably feature in forthcoming Moods.
We have designed a great sweater with the fair isle pattern extending onto the neck using the man’s pattern pictured on the top left as inspiration and have styled it with a traditional check wool skirt…
a great look for Autumn – watch out for the pattern coming soon to our website.
We find fair isle a tricky stitch to master but the end results are always really desirable and rewarding…
We have kept this pattern as simple as can be with only 2 colours per row so the pattern creates maximum impact!
I am now going to design and knit a hat for the website – it’s all about the bobble this season and I will ponder what to post next Monday.
Monday Mood 5
As we promised it’s a more subdued fair isle mood for this week. We feel this is a strong direction for colour and knit, the sweater on the top left hand side is a Yohji piece which is not only an unusual use of traditional fair isle but a great shape, next to a lovely Margaret Howell sweater, it’s all about the monochrome for this mood. Both Prada and Marc Jacobs showed lots of black and white, with a real nod to the 60s. There is an amazing exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum on Pop culture which may have inspired designers this season. We have also added some vintage cards which will appear on lots of our boards, we think they are amazing and really inspirational. We will add a partner this board for next weeks Monday mood with some swatches to inspire you.
is the pile of ends left over from sewing up this:
which is one of the new TBk designs coming very soon. (The piles of threads is a better match for the colour.) And this:
is a certain large houserabbit peering into the camera and generally getting in the way. Nothing new there then.